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Bill Gates, Jack Ma and John Doerr are pouring $1 billion into a clean energy fund

The effort comes as Donald Trump (and a cabinet full of clean energy opponents) prepares to assume office.

Asa Mathat

Bill Gates is spearheading a tech industry-led effort to invest more than $1 billion in clean energy companies.

Breakthrough Energy Ventures, to be officially announced Monday, has backing from 20 investors, including Gates, Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma, Khosla Ventures’ Vinod Khosla and SAP co-founder Hasso Plattner.

Gates announced his intention to launch the fund last year at the climate talks in Paris as a way to speed up the pace of innovation to fight climate change. “Our goal is to build companies that will help deliver the next generation of reliable, affordable and emissions-free energy to the world,” Gates said in a statement.

“Too often, we let what we think we know limit what is possible,” Ma said in a statement. “When it comes to energy, people say you cannot make money, meet demand and also benefit the environment. But we can and we will.”

The fund is designed to invest its money over a 20-year period; it plans to invest in companies needing anything from seed funding to the big bucks necessary for commercialization.

Investors describe the fund as “patient capital” working toward a zero-carbon future.

The push comes as Donald Trump prepares to assume the presidency with plans to tap a cabinet including staunch opponents of energy regulation and skeptics of climate change. Chief among those is Scott Pruitt, Trump’s choice to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, who is a close ally of the fossil fuel industry and a key opponent of President Obama’s efforts to control carbon emissions.

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